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1.26.2013

Conspiracy

A couple months ago when Instagram released their new terms of service and everyone got in a great huff over infringements to their privacy, a friend asked if I was going to close my account and quit using them to share pictures. I thought about it for a minute and realized that no, I wouldn't. By the time the new terms of service came into effect, either someone would discover that the hullaboo was over a misreading of the new terms, or Instagram would have fixed the problem to keep their good name.



Within days, the latter happened. We're all still taking our pictures with Instagram, and nothing is amiss* - as far as we know. I'd like to say this is a sign of some divine presentiment within me, but it's not so complicated.


We all find some lessons easier to learn than others, and this has been easy for me: to avoid panic based on supposition. It's one of the reasons I've never been particularly moved by end of the world theories, of either the evangelical or the Mayan sort. I have been trying to pinpoint when I first learned this lesson, especially as I've had cause to think of it more often than usual lately.


It was when I first came across the verse in Isaiah: "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it" (8:12). I remember when I first read that and took it to heart. And I really took it to heart, more than usual - perhaps because it seemed to allow me a freedom that was natural to me to begin with.


There are other verses about standing firm, or not following every wave of doctrine, or avoiding faddish philosophies, but they don't mean quite the same thing. "Do not call conspiracy..." is not just about being level-headed or avoiding panic, and it's not about being easily gullible. It means that we should wait to know the truth of a matter before we act on it. We should wait to rise against injustice until we are seeing with clear eyes. The short version: Be wise.


I think there's more for me to learn. But I am grateful for the pause before the leap. The hesitation before assumption. And I pray against any impulse that might make me too quick to fear.

*I am very aware that Instagram would not have bothered to correct their terms if people hadn't kicked up a load of dust. Let us consider this the blessing of human variety.

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